A boost for childcare in the autumn statement would be a profoundly depressing move. And it will be just as dispiriting if there are new programmes to help low-income families. Not because these measures aren’t to be warmly welcomed: it is just that it will tell you that the chancellor is focused on tinkering rather than boldly tackling the most pressing crisis of the age: housing.
Last week saw several heavyweight reports into Britain’s housing crisis. The Redfern review, detailing the catastrophic slump in home ownership, told us how real house prices have jumped 151% since 1996, while real earnings have risen only about a quarter as much.
The report by the ResPublica thinktank, out the next day, told us how 1.2 million people are languishing on housing waiting lists in England, while more than 6 million face tenure insecurity and no prospect of ever buying their own home.
Lyons Housing Commission reminded us last week how, after decades of failure to build the homes the country needs, public concern about housing is the highest it has been for 40 years.
Our Work on sustainable, inclusive, safe, and resilient urbanization:
More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. By 2050, that figure will have risen to 6.5 billion people – two-thirds of humanity. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.
The rapid growth of cities in the developing world, coupled with increasing rural to urban migration, has led to a boom in mega-cities. In 1950, only 30 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. In 2014, 54 percent was urban, with the proportion being far higher in developed countries. By 2020, however, the majority of people in developing countries will live in cities, with Africa and Asia urbanizing faster than other regions. Together with Latin America, they collectively account for more than 90 percent of global urban growth.
Many national, regional and local governments have struggled to create and implement policies that tackle the growing challenges faced by population growth in urban centers. Making cities safe and sustainable means ensuring access to safe and affordable housing, as well as improving slum and informal housing settlements. City leaders must invest in public transport, create and regenerate new public spaces for all urban residents, and improve urban planning and management in a way that is both participatory and inclusive. Sustainable city life is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.
UNDP’s policy and programme support focuses on supporting countries (and cities) to implement policies and initiatives for achieving SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda. Given the scope of urban challenges, UNDP will continue to work with a diverse set of partners and stakeholders—as part of a ‘coalition’—in addressing challenges to urbanization at the local, regional and national levels.
Urban residents in well-planned cities enjoy better access to employment opportunities, healthcare, education and public services compared to their rural counterparts. This is an opportunity to ensure that the urban infrastructure being built is climate resilient  and provides a better quality of life for the people who will live there. Better governance, planning and management mechanisms and access to affordable financing will be critical determinants of the sustainability, resilience, and inclusiveness of future urban centers.
It’s quite amazing how cities can change over time. It doesn’t even have to be that much time, you can literally leave your city for only a few years and when you come back, you’ll be baffled with the changes that occurred in your absence. Now imagine how some cities can change after ten, twenty or even one hundred years. The most drastic example is probably the beautiful city of Dubai, but we also prepared many “before and after” photographs so you could see how some of the biggest cities on the planet have changed throughout history.
A vintage film (mid-1960’s) on the importance of architecture in everyday life. Produced by Ann Seltman Smart, formerly of WPTF-AM in Raleigh, North Carolina. Narrated by Ted Daniel.
Valeria Luiselli ~ Trespassers On The Rooftops: A Secret History Of Mexico City’s Cultural Revolutionaries
Mexico City rooftops – azoteas – are usually flat. A parapet wall encloses the roof area, creating a kind of open-air patio, less visible to neighbours than the common interior patios of colonial and neocolonial buildings, and not easily accessed by visitors.
The rapidly expanding city of the 1920s housed its working classes either in these small rooftop rooms (cuartos de azotea), or in the more well-known vecindades, Mexico’s version of tenement buildings. Brought to Mexico during the conquest in the 16th century, but transformed into the sort of living quarters we know today during the mid-19th century, the vecindades were the typical dwelling space for working-class families, and in them the urban lumpen were crammed into small rooms that surrounded a common patio. While these were occupied by members of the working classes whose jobs did not provide room and board, such as factory workers, builders, or street-vendors, the cuartos de azotea were occupied by maids and servants, usually migrants from the provinces, who worked for the family that lived downstairs.